Analysis: Russia’s role in deadly Kiev clashes

Anti-government protesters clash with riot police at Independence Square in Kiev February 19, 2014. Ukrainian riot police fought protesters occupying the central Kiev square early on Wednesday after the bloodiest day since the former Soviet republic, caught in a geopolitical struggle between Russia and the West, won its independence. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko (REUTERS - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
Anti-government protesters clash with riot police at Independence Square in Kiev on Feb. 19. Credit: Reuters

With the violence escalating in Ukraine, international leaders are stepping up their pressure on President Viktor Yanukovich. But why, when the situation was getting calmer, did the government shoot dozens of protesters?

Metro spoke with Anton Shekhovtsov, a Ukrainian academic specializing in political extremism.

Who’s to blame for the violence and deaths in Kiev?

Two parties are responsible: Viktor Yanukovich and his government, and Russia. Yanukovich wouldn’t have been able to attack the protesters without Russian support. It’s because he wanted a $2 billion loan from Russia. He went to Sochi, where he met with [Russian President Vladimir] Putin. Now he’s back and he’s cracking down on the protesters.

But why would Russia want to support such an unpopular president?

Russia isn’t really interested in Yanukovich. It’s interested in the eastern and southern parts of Ukraine. Russia is establishing its Eurasian Union, and without at least parts of Ukraine, it wouldn’t work. That’s why Russia was so opposed to Ukraine signing the partnership agreement with the EU: It wanted Ukraine in the Eurasian Union.

Will protesters head home now that the situation has become so dangerous?

No, they’ll stand their ground. This is a fight for Ukrainian independence. We’ve had independence since 1991, but only formally. Now people want real independence. The protests aren’t just about Ukraine signing an EU agreement; it’s really about independence. And that’s why Putin is so afraid. He knows that if Russian Ukrainians defeat their government, Russians could want to do the same thing.


Paint Nite: Get drunk and make a painting…

At Paint Nite, New Yorkers can drink and make a painting at a New York City bar.


Judge sets January start for murder trial of…

By Elizabeth BarberBOSTON (Reuters) - Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez will be tried in January for the murder of semi-professional football player Odin…


Donut capers stymie police in Oregon

For more than a month, mysterious vandals have been smearing pastries on cars, depositing donuts in lawns and leaving cakes strewn about the streets.


U.S., European airlines halt flights to Israel due…

U.S. and European airlines halted flights to Tel Aviv in an effort to ensure passenger safety as turmoil in Israel and the region has intensified.


Don't miss 'Charles James: Beyond Fashion' at the…

Have you been meaning to see "Charles James: Beyond Fashion"? There are only two weeks left to get to the Met and catch this amazing American fashion designer's collection.


Zac Posen talks 'Project Runway' and what it…

We talked to Zac Posen, judge and designer extraordinaire, about the new season of "Project Runway" and what keeps him coming back after three seasons.


'Face Off' contestant David 'DOC' O'Connell sounds off…

David "DOC" O'Connell tells us about getting cast on Season 7 of Syfy's "Face Off," premiering tonight at 9.


PHOTO: Wildlife photographer Marc Mol captures amazing aerial…

This aerial image was taken by photographer Marc Mol who spotted the animals during an air safari in Zambia.


MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead…

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead pack


2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will…

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will win Super Bowl?


5 players to watch at Giants training camp

Metro takes a look at five players who will be on everyone’s mind when Giants training camp gets underway.


'Vicktory dogs' travel road to rehabilitation seven years…

Of the dozens of dogs groomed by Bad Newz Kennels, 48 were rescued and 22 of the pit bull terriers have emerged at Best Friends Animal Society.


Learn Braille with these gloves

U.S. scientists have designed high-tech gloves to help users understand Braille in a matter of minutes.


5 New Ikea products that will change your…

We round-up the latest must-have products.


Recipe: Wolfgang Puck's Buttermilk French Toast

We recently spent some time chatting with restauranteur/celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck at his Wolfgang Puck American Grille in the Borgata in Atlantic City. Puck wanted…


Go retro with your sneakers

The best of wacky new sneakers.